Internet Radio Right at Home on Your Mac
Despite the rise in popularity of TV on demand, Internet and Twitter, I still like listening to the radio. It offers such a wide variety of songs and different kinds of programs that, for example TV, doesn’t offer. Call me a dinosaur if you will, but I would much rather listen to the radio for a couple of hours than wind it away in front of some lifeless, cheap TV program.
Believe it or not, I don’t actually own a radio – I tune in via the Internet. I am currently based in Germany, and from time to time, I need a good, solid dose of British culture to remind me of my roots. I can get all my British radio stations (such as BBC Radio 1) via the Internet, without having to pay any kind of license fees (unlike television). When you look at the figures, the popularity of Internet radio is on the rise. In 2007, 11% of the U.S. population listened to the radio via the Internet; in 2008 this figure had crept up to 13% (and is presumably still on the rise). It’s certainly cheaper than buying an actual radio, and you can listen to stations from different parts of the country.
There are, of course, a number of ways to listen to Internet radio. You can do it “the old-fashioned way” and listen to it streaming via the radio station’s website. You can also listen to it on the move using, for example, a program like TuneIn Radio, one of the most popular choices. But what about on your Mac? It is a real pain having to search around the Net for that station you want to listen to.
Well, luckily there is a solution for us Mac users. Radioline is a lightweight, yet functional program which streams Internet radio for you right onto your desktop (conceptually very similar to Radium). Say goodbye to Google searches and Flash-based streamers which either crash or take 30 minutes to stream. With Radioline you can simply click on the radio station you want to listen to, sit back and immerse yourself.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Let’s take a closer peek…
Radioline is a relatively new application to the App Store, so don’t be expecting loads of flashy features. The developer is, however, welcome to all feedback and comments regarding the program, so if you like it (or see some room for improvement), drop them a quick post on their forums.
On opening up Radioline, a list of stations that are near to you pops up based on your Mac’s location settings. You can, of course, scroll through these and to start playing a station, simply double-click or hit the play button in the toolbar.
RadioLine has stations from over 100 countries in its database, so you’ll never be short of something to listen to. Searching for new stations is extremely simple – simply enter the station you want to listen to into the search bar and RadioLine will find any radio station that matches your search query. You can request any missing radio stations by clicking here and sending an e-mail to the developers.
You can also star your favorite radio stations so you don’t lose track of them or have to search for them continuously!
Icing on the Cake
Radioline has a couple of handy little features built in to make your Internet radio listening experience a far more enjoyable (and easier) one. The application integrates with Growl and you can set up a number of handy keyboard shortcuts, for example to notify you via Growl which station you are listening to. You can also set up keyboard shortcuts so that you can switch stations easily in the background, without disturbing what you are doing.
Radioline also supports album art and logos and can also notify you if something you like is playing on another favorite station, so you don’t miss your favorite song! If you don’t want the app intruding on your workflow, then you can turn on the mini-player view, which shrinks Radioline down into a tidy widget.
Radioline is a nice, simple Mac application and it does its job well. Unfortunately, this practicality comes at a slight price. For such a basic application, the standard price of $9.99 seems quite high. Other programs offer the same functionality for less or even for nothing, and unfortunately as of yet there is no trial version of Radioline available.
Having said that, is a lot more convenient than having to search around the Internet to find those stations that you want. It’s obviously up to you if this is worth ten of your hard-earned American dollars.
As I mentioned above, Radioline is a newcomer to the Mac App Store, and all applications start out small. I can see great potential in it, and since the developers are up for hearing new ideas (or improvements on existing ones), it’s worth letting them know what you think of the app.
Radioline has earned a decent score of 8 out of 10 and I hope that the developers carry on with its development as it is a very useful little program that can save you some serious leeway. But for an app that costs nearly $10, I was expecting a little more oomph. Here’s hoping for more features in future updates!